Thomas Hardy (Re-reading Literature) by John Goode
Literature & Fiction | History & Criticism
Thomas Hardy (Re-reading Literature)
Blackwell Publishers (January 1, 1988)
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The popularity enjoyed by Hardy's novels to this day, this work argues, is no mere relish for well-told stories. What is so arresting about his novels is their deeply-founded, and long worked-for questioning of gender, class, form and theory. These attitudes evolved through deliberate "writerly" strategies. With these Hardy learned to deal with not just his position as a professional "writer" but with the ideological and material implications of having arisen from a subordinate class. John Goode shows how Hardy's novels shifted their initially subversive posture, cautiously teasing possibilities out of the dominant culture he opposed, towards one of open confrontation. Using close textual analysis, a sharpened sense of Hardy's context, and modern critical techniques, John Goode outlines the formal and political shape of Hardy's changing fictional practice. The novels, Goode suggests, stand or fall on the commitment they show to the people and the ideas most oppressed and victimised by the culture, from which, paradoxically, he drew his first reading public. This is the unacknowledged Hardy that modern readers turn to, a Hardy brought into controversial relief by this close rereading. This book should be of interest to students and specialists in English literature, as well as Hardy enthusiasts.